DALLAS, T.X. (CBS) – Ever leave a phone charger or favorite book behind at an airport? How about tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry?
That’s what one traveler would have experienced this week if it hadn’t been for the kind actions of CBS News reporter Omar Villafranca. On Friday, Villafranca came across a box containing $40,000 worth of jewelry in a restroom at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
“It felt heavy and when I opened the box I thought, ‘Oh my, like, this is somebody’s — this is expensive’,” Villafranca said.
Initially, he tried taking the box to TSA but they sent him elsewhere.
“They wanted no part of it,” Villafranca said. “So I took it to a gate agent at American Airlines in their terminal. And then I just took some pictures and tweeted on it.”
Villafranca posted pictures of the box’s contents and the gate where it could be found. “Hoping that by doing this, it makes someone’s 2020 suck less,” Villafranca said in the post.
The owner of the jewelry was found, with the airport tweeting a shoutout to Villafranca for turning in the “box of bling.”
“When I saw that tweet from DFW, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s crazy. Oh, my God, am I crazy?'” Villafranca said.
Villafranca said he spoke with the box’s owner afterward.
“He’s a gentleman who lives in Missouri. He owns his own small business,” Villafranca said. “And he told me this is something he has been building up and buying, you know, over the years. This wasn’t just a ‘one big purchase.'”
The reporter left him with one message.
“He was very thankful, and I told him, ‘Listen, pay it forward, if you can. This is all I’m asking. 2020 has been rough.'”